The Grind for Your Soul: Skating Por Vida event will use the fashion and popular culture around skate boarding as a way to engage and expose youth and young adults to social justice, voting, and legislation.
MILPA ( Motivating Individual Leadership for Public Advancement) will use the fashion, marketability and counter-culture theme that skate boarding and skateboarders are known for and use this “hipster” lifestyle to change the narrative that Salinas, California is dangerous, boring and scary for young students, young adults and visitors.
The project will amplify the message that Salinas is welcoming, healthy and hip. The project illuminates a need to re-establish a social justice lens that will combat violence both communal and systemic.
Salinas has been plagued with having the highest Youth Homicide rate in California 3 out of the past 4 years. Most of these shootings are of young Latino teenagers. The location of the event is in the heart of the “barrio” known as Las Casitas.
This area is known for everything from carne asadas (grilling meat) and pachangas (lively parties) to murders and tragedy. It’s important for this community to heal and not be over-reliant on policing and law enforcement.
The community doesn’t need transactional and parachute “experts”. By working directly with those most impacted MILPA organizers will get closest to the solution. They are going into their current or old neighborhoods where they grew up amongst and with skaters, activists, gangsters, store owners, and the old viejitos and viejitas (older neighborhood statesmen) of the community.
This event will not be dependent on the government trying to save the community. In contrast, they will use this event to expose their community to their people power. The community members will be able to see that their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews can have fun, be cool, and healthy and still partake in “youth culture” in a way that educates and creates awareness about social change.
Local and Internet contributions will enhance the ability to bring a blend of organic and healthy food, pay for sanitary equipment, helmets, giveaways, and prize awards.
Why it Matters
Salinas has a rich social activist history and although they can remain nostalgic on the work and legacy of the many 1970’s farmworker activist, it is time to begin cultivating the next generation of civic participation and leadership in Salinas where the median age is 26 years old.
The goal of MILPA is to cultivate change makers for the next seven generations, and in Salinas, which is known as the Salad Bowl of America with a $8-9 billion a year industry. It is important to note the average farmworker salary is under $14,000 per year.
Yet the profit goes to the rich landowners.
The project will work endlessly to build a broader communication plan and effort to reclaim and market an intergenerational sense of neighborhood love in Salinas. Grind for Your Soul: Skating Por Vida will promote self-sustainability, self determination, ganas and salud, within the migrant and farm working community of Salinas.
Most importantly funds will allow MILPAS to generate a pool of local talent that they can support long after the event. They want to use the additional money to provide youth employment because “teens need money” and they can engage them in local community empowerment and leadership development.
The reason for the crowdfunder is to raise awareness in regard to culture, consciousness, and movement building. This is to establish a regular language and lifestyle around youth and adult civic engagement.
MILPAS will be promoting the development of community collaboration to move in a positive direction. They will collect data regarding who, what, where, and when latin@ community people are voting and even where they stand regarding health and technological disparities.
The changes they hope to achieve will be to engage and involve people in local civic conversations by braiding and blending the youth with the elders of the community to bridge the generational gap.
They hope to be able to assist with some type of technology so that the youth from the community can help the elders within their homes navigate social media. They will measure this by conducting a pre and post survey and develop a plan of action to be able to bring more technology into the community as a whole — allowing others to also be able to collect data so that they too may be able to conduct their own crowdfunding, if needed.
The campaign's goal is $3,000.